One of the greatest challenges for customer experience executives is gaining buy-in for investments in improving the customer experience.
Customer experience can seem like a never ending intangible problem that is too hard to deal with given the necessity to focus on driving quarterly numbers.
Unfortunately the result is like driving a car as fast as you can until its empty, at some point the car runs out of fuel and it is crisis time. For a business this means losing customers and losing the ability to attract them back to the business without significant price concession leading to lower profitability.
Creating a customer centric culture is a capability building process for the organization; it is the ongoing improvement and refinement of value for its customers.
So what does this mean for gaining buy-in? Ultimately the leadership needs to buy-in to the idea that shaping the culture in a way that is customer centric is the only way to ensure a legacy for themselves and the company. In short executives with a short-term view will never prioritize culture change as they are already thinking about their next role. Why train for a marathon when you are only running a 5k?
For those executives with a longer-term view, here are 3 ways to get buy-in
1. Link the Customer Experience Strategy to Corporate Strategy and the bottom line
The executive team and the CEO are ultimately responsible for driving profitable growth and return for investors. The corporate strategy for most firms involves growth. Where does that growth come from? Customers.
A customer experience strategy that results in customers staying with the company for longer, buying more and newer products, becoming advocates and reducing the cost to serve will drive growth. If customer experience professionals can show how the customer experience strategy will drive these things they will get executive buy-in.
2. Define the Cost of Quality
What is the impact to the organization of poor customer experience and quality?
- Customers leave or churn
- Customer have to call more often to have the needs met
- Employees leave
- Customer complaints increase demonstrating weakness in organizational performance
- Calculate the lifetime value of customers, see how Chris Zane implements this concept to drive customer focus in his super successful cycling business.
- Conduct research on customer perceptions of the company and how these correlate with customer retention and acquisition metrics
- Determine the propensity to switch, which customers are at risk of leaving and what would it cost if they did?
- Measure your company’s level of customer centricity and benchmark best in class companies.